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Help Identify the Dumbest Things Recruiters Do

by
Dr. John Sullivan
Oct 31, 2011, 5:41 am ET

art from radio 1190, BoulderOne of the easiest ways corporate advisors and consultants help their clients improve performance quickly is highlighting and putting an end to dumb things being done that negatively impact results. Over the years I have developed my list (some of it is shared below), but I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are seeing today that makes you scratch your head, or worse, makes your skin crawl with anger.

The Staffing Management Association of Seattle (one of the nation’s most progressive professional associations for recruiters) has selected this topic for the closing keynote session I will deliver at its seventh Annual Symposium on November 9.

I’ll incorporate your views into my presentation and share my final list with the ere.net community following the event. Helping rank my list and identify missing things shouldn’t take more than five minutes and could prove very helpful to the entire recruiting community. Look through my list of 30 dumb things and select the five that you see as the most common and most egregious.

Use the comments functionality following this post to share your answer and also let me know what things I overlooked.

My Starting Point (please select the top five)

  1. Using the same recruiting process for different level jobs — it’s a mistake for recruiters to use the same search process, search tools, and sources for every job; tailoring the process to the job is more effective.
  2. Using “active” approaches to recruit “passive” candidates — most who apply for jobs are active candidates however, many recruiters make the mistake of using the same active approaches to find the currently employed who are not looking for a job.
  3. Not taking advantage of employee referralsreferrals almost universally result in the highest quality and volume of hires, so it’s a mistake for recruiters to discount them. A related problem is spamming employees with referral requests.
  4. Not learning the business — top talent thrives in most organizations because they understand how the organization makes money (hint, it’s not selling a product). Recruiting top talent requires recruiters who can articulate the value the business creates and link specific roles being recruited for to that larger picture.
  5. Not checking if a competitor is also hiring — recruiting is a zero sum game, so it’s a mistake not to know whether your talent competitors are simultaneously hiring for the same job.
  6. Failing to identify and use the best sources — it’s a universal truth that if you don’t have top candidates in your applicant pool, you cannot hire a top person. It’s a major blunder for recruiters not to use metrics to identify the very best sources for each job family.
  7. Underusing mobile — it’s an error to underuse the most powerful unified channel communications platform both to reach and support talent engaged in the recruiting process.
  8. Trial-and-error social media usesocial media is powerful but can produce mediocre results if not proactively managed and focused on the most impactful activities. A related error is spamming jobs on social media.
  9. Mistaking software as systems or solutions — software is a tool that supports or automates process, but by itself it accomplishes little. Great efforts require that tools be wrapped in well-designed processes and procedures, which combined make up a system or solution.
  10. Not quantifying the impact of great/bad hires — failing to make hiring managers aware of the financial difference of great hires and the negative cost associated with a bad hire can make hiring managers less engaged.
  11. Not prioritizing  jobs — it’s a major mistake not to differentiate jobs and to focus on those with the highest business impact.
  12. Failing to develop a business case because the organization doesn’t require one — developing a business case forces you make sure all the pieces of plan fit together, and that you haven’t overlooked components. Failing to develop a plan because the funding is easily available leads to ad hoc program development and inefficient use of resources.
  13. Not learning fast — recruiting is a fast-changing profession, so it is an error not to continuously learn and adopt new approaches.
  14. Not preparing for innovators — innovators are increasingly important, so it is a mistake not to change processes so that they effectively attract and select innovators.
  15. Overemphasizing generic competencies — lots of organizations are guilty of this error. In a fast-changing world, competencies by design maintain the status quo. In addition, most are defined so loosely that they mean little.
  16. Not identifying  job acceptance criteria — accepting a job is a major life decision, so it’s a mistake not to identify the factors and the criteria that top candidates use to decide whether to apply for and accept a job.
  17. Assuming interviews are accurate — interviews contain many possible “error points,” so it is an error to overly rely on their results without secondary assessment.
  18. Assuming resumes are accurate — almost everyone agrees that more than 50% of resumes include misstatements or major omissions, so it is a mistake to rely exclusively on the information in them. Doing so will result in some serious screening errors.
  19. Assuming that recruiting tools work — it’s a mistake to use the approaches that “everyone else is using,” good recruiters assess on their own what tools work and what tools don’t work.
  20. Expecting dull position descriptions to attract — if position descriptions don’t excite, you’ll miss many top applicants, so it is a mistake not to compare them to competitors and not to make them sales documents.
  21. Not managing the candidate experience — it’s a mistake to treat current applicants and candidates poorly because it will negatively impact the willingness of future candidates to apply. It’s also an error not to sample candidate satisfaction.
  22. Making slow hiring decisions — the very best candidates are snapped up quickly, so slow hiring can dramatically decrease a recruiter’s results.
  23. Dropping the overqualified — prematurely dropping candidates who are overqualified can cause you to lose some superior talent.
  24. Dropping  job-jumpers – prematurely screening out job-hoppers can cause you to lose some ambitious and rising stars.
  25. Dropping  rejected candidates – it’s a major mistake to discard the resumes of top candidates who were not hired, rather than shopping them to other hiring managers or revisiting them later.
  26. Not measuring the quality of hire – even if your organization doesn’t do it for you, it’s a major mistake for recruiters not to check to see if their hires perform better and stay longer them the average hire.
  27. Overemphasis on the past — it’s a major mistake for assessment to focus exclusively on past performance without also assessing how the candidate will handle current and future problems.
  28. Being a requisition coordinator — it’s an error to focus too much of your time and effort on requisition approvals and administrative matters, rather than sourcing and selling.
  29. Allowing hiring managers to hire for their needs — hiring managers can be selfish and hire for their own immediate short-term needs, so it is a mistake not to provide direction so that the resulting hires are also the best ones for the future needs of the organization.
  30. Investing or developing brand positions that fail to differentiate — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that most of the employment brand positioning content developed to date makes all organizations seem pretty much identical with the exception of what it is the company does. Most brand positions are overly generic.

It’s Your Turn!

Tell me what you think the top five are from this list or what you think I have missed using the commenting functionality below.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Jim DAmico

    That’s a great list! My five:
    10,16,21,26,29

    The other I would add is failure to preclose the candidate. When recruiters can’t have an honest conversation based on mutual trust about a candidates compensation (current and past) and their want’s, then it leaves companies throwing snowballs in a blizzard trying to hit a target they can’t see.

  2. John Kreiss

    Good list. I would add poor management of client and candidate expectations.

  3. Emma Reynolds

    Hi John, this is great, I would add:

    - Accepting a poor brief from hiring managers; almost all poor hiring decisions can be traced back to the quality (or lack) of the brief at the outset. Recruiters need to demand / command a brilliant briefing that is more than a dust-off of the old JD.

    - Listing too many prerequisites (MUST be degree educated, MUST have 10 years experience in our industry, MUST have blah blah blah). Diversity of thought and experience are major competitive advantages and recruiters tend to be too narrow in their thinking when it comes to prerequisites.

    Goodluck!

  4. Edie Crews

    Good list… I would add Dropping Candidates based on salary alone. Money is very rarely the #1 reason a candidate will make a move. Goes along with understanding the motivating reasons why a candidate would be interested in making a move.

  5. Elizabeth Joseph

    also, stayinThanks for the list- What about, staying neutral when a candidate calls you and begins to say negative things about your competitor e.g. use that moment to help the candidate understand the industry norms-
    Also, stay in touch with a candidate even after she said no to your offer and yes to your competitor’s?

  6. John Kreiss

    I think Edie makes an excellent point. If a candidate is outside the client’s salary range, they may still be a viable candidate,depending on their motivation to change which is often not based on money alone.

    It’s important,however, to manage expectations in these cases to avoid wasting everyone’s time.

  7. Gopi Krishna

    Thanks for the list John!! I would keep 1, 3, 4, 8 and 12 as my top priorities. I would also agree with Edie! As money cannot be the sole motivator for a career change. A lot of times… money comes the last!! I would say money is just a catalyst and there are more important factors as job satisfaction which trigger the career change thoughts!!

  8. Mel Kleiman Csp

    I would add not being an expert in interviewing and coaching hiring managers in how to interview.

  9. Steve Levy

    Morning Sully!

    NEW Recruiting, interviewing, hiring against the job description. Most are flawed compensation documents with little connection to the problems to be solved by the new hire. (#20 is a corollary of this)

    #17 Remarkable how many recruiters believe they have ESP or the ability to look at a resume and “know” they have a winner. How many bad personal relationships have you had? Oh yeah, you’re great at spotting talent…

    #1 Recruiters are notorious for working under the adage that when one becomes so “good” at using a hammer, everything becomes a nail.

    #6 Much like #1, fishing from the same talent pool and failing to monitor the presence and quality of the talent is an egregious error. How many recruiters these days use LinkedIn as their primary source? Are you sure this is the best place to recruit?

    Finally a tie:

    #24 Given the economy these past few years, more great people are finding themselves with short-term gigs on their resumes. I wonder how many recruiters and hiring managers will be able to get their arms around the new reality…

    #22 Slow hiring decisions kill recruiting – as does the mandate the everyone must go through the same hiring process – A to Z – before a decision can be made. Haven’t you ever felt love at first sight?

  10. Malcolm Harris

    Great list, Dr Sullivan.

    My top five bugbears from your list would be numbers 3, 16, 20, 21 and 22. A difficult choice as there are so many fine contenders.

    Other possibles include:

    Assuming line managers know how to interview at all, let alone whether they realise that a core part of the role is to sell the job/company to the candidate. So few managers have ever even attended even a single interviewing training day and, of course, they only put the skills into practice intermittently.

    Assigning junior staff the responsibility to screen and interview for positions beyond their own level of maturity, knowledge and commercial insight. In a flash, the employer’s credibility evaporates.

    Inconsistent application of hiring processes and expecting consistent results.

    At a simple level, using informal, unstructured interviews ad hoc, rather than creating and applying a common format per job, based on the live, prevailing demands of the position and how it fits the overall purpose of the organisation. Perhaps this seems glaringly obvious, but goodness me, it still remains out there.

    All the best with the presentation.

    Malcolm

  11. Todd Raphael

    From talking to job-seekers and recruiters, I think #17, #20, and #21 are some of my favorites. Interestingly, I think they are things that happen not just in recruiting but are a microcosm of something happening in society in general.

    For example, take #17, interviewing: I think we all make judgments about people given tiny slices of information (their car; where they live; their clothes; their religion; their southern, eastern, rural, etc. accent; whether they shop at Whole Foods or they shop at Wal-Mart; etc.) rather than science, in all our lives, not just in the employment transaction.

    And another example, on #21, the candidate experience. Over and over and over candidates say they are told the company “really likes them”; “is really close to a decision”; “things went really, really well in the interview” and so on, and then mysteriously, the company disappears, never to be heard from again, with no explanation. But again, this isn’t some recruiting-only problem: it happens in dating, because we don’t want to tell someone we lost interest, or we’re not interested at all. It happens in the workplace – the boss asks the employee a question and never hears back or the employee answers the boss at any hour of the day and never hears back, gets a thanks, etc. It happens in the customer/consumer experience – we can’t figure out why an e-commerce website isn’t working; why the Home Depot person points the old lady to a huge area across the room rather than walking her to the specific section she is asking about; we have frustrations in retail stores or in the post office, at the DMV or calling the PPO.

    So I think recruiting departments are made of up people, who are just like people who aren’t recruiters, and oftentimes bend over backward to do the right thing but are at the mercy of managers who are busy and don’t return candidate calls or emails, ask candidates being recruited things like “why do you want this job?” or leave an interview deciding to hire or not hire someone because of an initial and fleeting like or dislike of the candidate.

  12. Connie Gruen

    Failing to define and develop criteria for post-interview candidate assessments. Hiring managers need a tool in hand to enable them to provide timely, objective, consistent evaluations for each interviewed candidate.

  13. Eric Putkonen

    My top 5 (includes one not listed):

    #20 – Expecting dull position descriptions to attract – with this, basically the totaly inability to sell the position, department, and company.

    #21 – Not managing the candidate experience

    #30 – Investing or developing brand positions that fail to differentiate – being a Fortune 100, growing, or employer of top talent (which many claim) are not good branding positions.

    #2 – Using “active” approaches to recruit “passive” candidates

    Also – you mention mobile and social media…what about video? Not taking advantage of video is a huge mistake. Especially passive candidates…they want to meet the hiring manager, see what a day in a life is, meet co-workers, etc. – even before they apply. Video can do this quickly and inexpensively (only need a Kodak Zi8 or later, a plug-in lapel microphone, a tripod, video editing software, and some training (filming, interviewing, and editing training). I know Deluxe is doing cool things with video (I saw the start of it when I was there on contract). They film it themselves…mini-documentary or interview style…just speaking with people.

  14. Ronald Katz

    Great list Dr. John! Here are my thoughts on the dumbest mistakes, 3 of yours plus two more.

    Right now I would say that refusing to consider candidates who are unemployed is number one. Eliminating huge swathes of candidates on this flawed criteria does your organization a tremendous disservice. It’s also bad for the economy of the country and the hiring organization that will wind up paying more because they insist on recruiting so-called “passive” candidates. You allude to this in your #2.

    My number 2 is the same as Mel’s above. Not training managers in how to conduct a legal and effective interview leaves the organization open to great exposure.

    After that, from your list, I’d pick #4 – Not knowing the business, #17 – Assuming Interviews are Accurate, and # 22 – Slow Hiring decisions. The first two make the recruiter look bad and the third is a poor reflection on the entire organization.

    Knock ‘em dead on the 9th and I look forward to the follow up!
    Only the best,
    Ron Katz

  15. Dorothy Wong

    Great Article and a concise summary of what recruiters should look out for. I particularly agree on points 1,8,13, and 14.

    I am a Gen Y active job seeker and fresh out of college. I have been doing researches on what is the best way to get noticed and land a position in my desired industry. So far I have learned that many recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates even for some intern and entry level positions. When I was in college (really not that long ago), no classmates and friends of mine had a LinkedIn page. It was not until I had to start looking for a job and my supervisor asked me to sign up for a LinkedIn profile 3 months ago, I reluctantly created a profile with LinkedIn. It is painful to complete my profile on LinkedIn. (This is a good summary of why I didn’t have and MANY of my fellow classmates and friends still haven’t got a LinkedIn profile http://blog.identified.com/2011/10/why-do-students-and-recent-grads-prefer-facebook-to-linkedin.html) Going back to Dr.Sullivan’s first point, many recruiters are using tool to hire mid-level to senior level positions to fill entry level positions. There is a mismatch where recruiters look for young talents and where these young talents actually inhabit.

    Moving on to point 8… social media constantly changes and I am trying my best to stay on top on it for my career agenda. I think the same goes for recruiters. I think it’s important for us who use social media for business purposes to have a strategy i.e. to know your goal, your audience just to name a few. (To learn more about social media strategies for recruitment register for webinar http://employers.identified.com/events/social-recruitment-101?hsCtaTracking=d187c4d1-2936-4007-ad3e-2efb39b0f7d5%7C72cc2c6c-359e-47a5-b19e-210abeb9848e) Once you have your strategies down, the rest will be easier.

    In my opinion, points 13 and 14 apply to almost all industries not just human resources. From my personal experience, I didn’t learn early enough how important social recruitment and be present on Facebook professionally and LinkedIn were to my own advantage. As for recruiters, some of them still rely heavily on LinkedIn to social recruit because they are not ready to take Facebook professionally. Facebook the largest social networking site there is in the world. Most Gen Y young talents engage with Facebook activities daily. It is true that Facebook is inherently unprofessional but innovations are happening to tap into the biggest pool of social data for business uses like recruitment. (To learn more about how to recruit on Facebook please register here http://employers.identified.com/event-registration/recruit-on-facebook?hsCtaTracking=0e99c84f-725e-44ce-b9db-d33bfcfeef06%7Ce8732307-20cc-46cc-a27a-2abfc070c3ea)

    Once again, thank you for such a great career advice article.

  16. John Kreiss

    Hi Dorothy,

    Thanks for sharing. I think a lot of baby boomers like myself can learn a lot about Gen Y by taking the time to listen to them.

    Personally, I don’t know many recruiters who are paid to find entry level talent. Yes, many companies send representatives to college job fairs, etc.

    Most agency recruiters, however, spend their time searching for mid-senior level talent, and often this talent can be found on LinkedIn. That may change, however, when the gen y gets older. If they’re using Facebook apps, recruiters will have to adapt.

    Regarding LinkedIn, I’ve criticisms from many of my workplace colleagues who feel that LinkedIn is similar to job boards where recruiters can fish through resumes.

    Personally, I think that criticism is fair, and senior talent may decide not to post profiles on LinkedIn. I’m not sure if that means that they will post career profiles through facebook, or choose to protect their privace, and avoid social media.

    Only time will tell.

  17. Suzanne Sears

    From a recruiters point of view: items 20-30 are industry killers that we fight against every day.

    The major obstacle that recruiters face daily is in one word:

    Narrowness: HR Narrowness.

    In other words: the job orders nearly always ask for recruiters to go out and source candidates who at best: are being asked to consider making a lateral move.

    The criteria is most often to find someone already doing the job: already at that pay level:with the exact same background as the last person who held this job: who simply wants to switch.

    Its rather like conducting a search on your street: Who wants to move 3 doors down for the same identical house at the same identical price?

    The end result is nearly always rejection of all approaches based upon that criteria: because its just dumb. Who wants to do that?…..To kick to the curb an employer who is meeting most of their needs for an unknown?…..well: primarily the angry and disaffected……and thats not really who you want to hire.

    The reality of conducting lateral move searches is that the quality is extremely thin……..which inevitably ends up with frustrated HR people feeling recruiters are letting them down.

    A recruiter is out to sell your brand: that your work experience has far more to offer:……but we rarely get: far more to offer. No improved title: no improved pay: no improved anything. In short: we are sent to the battlefield with no weapons.

    Primarily this is due to the silly idea that someone already doing the job is less of a risk than someone who is not:

    That might be true for the role Astronaut: but its probably not valid 9 times out of 10 elsewhere

    Or

    Not having to train is a big money saver: although there isnt a firm in existence that does things identically to its neighbours anyway. Training is the cost of being in business.

    By and large the best talent pool that wants to make a change are persons wishing to take the next step up: or persons wishing to “downsize” previous levels of accountability.

    Yet nearly all job descriptions are designed to not allow that to happen:
    they read:
    Dont apply unless you are already a Master Widget Professional:
    we supply no training
    we supply no advancement
    we offer mediocre wages

    but you are lucky to work for us: that old 1940s Industrial mentality………

    I cant even begin to list the number of candidates who want to work for certain firms regardless of the title and pay because of the brand:

    and if I am dumb enough to present them: I hear the inevitable:
    “Oh way too senior: they would be bored”…….without even a “lets see what this brilliant person could add to our firm since they want to work for us so badly?”

    or

    “Way too junior: they only have 4 years experience not 5 years: they couldnt possibly do the job”.

    I call it the Goldilocks Syndrome: not too hard not too soft just right……..

    In other words: only people with criteria exactly identical to the job description check list

    … because HR knows for a fact that this formula and only this formula of person will be productive for their firm.

    Its this narrowness of mindset that slams the doors shut for most firms to hire best talent……because they wont even look at it.

    Do they do that because they have scientific studies done of who has talent and who doesnt?
    or
    Do they do that simply because it lessens the risk of the Hiring Manager rejecting their submissions so the slots are filled quicker?

    Contrast this with:

    …. the President of Zappos knew absolutely nothing about shoes before he took on that project…..

    Or Google: that says: solve our online puzzles: if you can do that: we will interview you: regardless of your background.

    Some companies just know talent when they see it. Most dont and will never realize that their HR and recruiting policies are what stands in their own way.

  18. Bruce Allen

    Great list and comments! My addition is recruiting for tangibles, outright neglecting or not prioritizing intangibles.

    Most hiring managers make the grave mistake of hiring for tangibles (e.g., domain experience, education pedigree, etc.), only to end up firing for lack of intangibles (Passion, drive, inquisitiveness, competitiveness, self-awareness, etc.).

  19. Manon Boileau

    LISTENING is the one and only tool you should work and improve upon both for the candidate and the client. Hear the needs and wishes of both. Then you have a clear mandate. Manon Boileau

  20. Keith Halperin

    Thank you, Dr. Sullivan. Congratulations on your keynote speech. You had so many interesting points it wasn’t possible for me to pick just five to discuss (As I can’t do bolding or italics, I needed to use ALL CAPS, though that is usually in “poor form”.):

    1. Using the same recruiting process for different level jobs — it’s a mistake for recruiters to use the same search process, search tools, and sources for every job; tailoring the process to the job is more effective. (ELEMENTARY MISTAKE.)
    2. Using “active” approaches to recruit “passive” candidates — most who apply for jobs are active candidates however, many recruiters make the mistake of using the same active approaches to find the currently employed who are not looking for a job. (RECRUITING PASSIVE CANDIDATES TAKES TOO LONG FOR MANY OF YOUR HIRING MANAGERS.)
    3. Not taking advantage of employee referrals — referrals almost universally result in the highest quality and volume of hires, so it’s a mistake for recruiters to discount them. A related problem is spamming employees with referral requests. (UNLESS YOU DON’T GET CREDIT FOR THEM.)
    4. Not learning the business — top talent thrives in most organizations because they understand how the organization makes money (hint, it’s not selling a product). Recruiting top talent requires recruiters who can articulate the value the business creates and link specific roles being recruited for to that larger picture. (VERY TRUE.)
    5. Not checking if a competitor is also hiring — recruiting is a zero sum game (SAYS WHO?), so it’s a mistake not to know whether your talent competitors are simultaneously hiring for the same job. (WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS?)
    6. Failing to identify and use the best sources — it’s a universal truth that if you don’t have top candidates in your applicant pool, you cannot hire a top person. It’s a major blunder for recruiters (TO SPEND ANY TIME COMPILING/ENTERING METRICS IF THEIR TIME IS WORTH MORE THAN $3.00 HR. IF IT IS, OUTSOURCE IT FOR THAT PRICE OR LESS.) not to use metrics to identify the very best sources for each job family.
    7. Underusing mobile — it’s an error to underuse the most powerful unified channel communications platform both to reach and support talent engaged in the recruiting process. (HOW ABOUT USING IT SO YOU’RE RECRUITING MOBILY?)
    8. Trial-and-error social media use — social media is powerful but can produce mediocre results if not proactively managed and focused on the most impactful activities. A related error is spamming jobs on social media. (SOCIAL MEDIA IS A SOURCING TOOL- LEAVE IT TO THE $11-/HR SOURCING FOLKS TO USE.)
    9. Mistaking software as systems or solutions — software is a tool that supports or automates process, but by itself it accomplishes little. Great efforts require that tools be wrapped in well-designed processes and procedures, which combined make up a system or solution. (TELL THAT TO THE PEOPLE WHO BUY AND SET UP YOUR SYSTEMS WITHOUT GETTING YOUR AND OTHER LINE-RECRUITERS’ INPUT!)
    10. Not quantifying the impact of great/bad hires — failing to make hiring managers aware of the financial difference of great hires and the negative cost associated with a bad hire can make hiring managers less engaged. (IF YOU’RE THAT STRATEGIC AND HAVE THE TIME, GO FOR IT!)
    11. Not prioritizing jobs — it’s a major mistake not to differentiate jobs and to focus on those with the highest business impact. (A “NO-BRAINER” IF YOU WISH TO KEEP YOUR JOB.)
    12. Failing to develop a business case because the organization doesn’t require one — developing a business case forces you make sure all the pieces of plan fit together, and that you haven’t overlooked components. Failing to develop a plan because the funding is easily available leads to ad hoc program development and inefficient use of resources. (AGAIN, IF YOU’RE THAT STRATEGIC AND HAVE THE TIME, GO FOR IT!)
    13. Not learning fast — recruiting is a fast-changing profession, so it is an error not to continuously learn and adopt new approaches. (A “NO-BRAINER” IF YOU WISH TO KEEP YOUR JOB.)
    14. Not preparing for innovators — innovators are increasingly important, so it is a mistake not to change processes so that they effectively attract and select innovators. (“INNOVATOR”: TROUBLEMAKER / S***-STIRRER TOO WELL-CONNECTED/SAVVY TO GET FIRED)
    15. Overemphasizing generic competencies — lots of organizations are guilty of this error. In a fast-changing world, competencies by design maintain the status quo. (EXACTLY- THAT’S WHAT YOUR BOSSES WANT.) In addition, most are defined so loosely that they mean little.
    16. Not identifying job acceptance criteria — accepting a job is a major life decision, so it’s a mistake not to identify the factors and the criteria that top candidates use to decide whether to apply for and accept a job. (A “NO-BRAINER” IF YOU WISH TO KEEP YOUR JOB.)
    17. Assuming interviews are accurate — interviews contain many possible “error points,” so it is an error to overly rely on their results without secondary assessment. (VERY TRUE.)
    18. Assuming resumes are accurate — almost everyone agrees that more than 50% of resumes include misstatements or major omissions, so it is a mistake to rely exclusively on the information in them. Doing so will result in some serious screening errors. (VERY TRUE.)
    19. Assuming that recruiting tools work — it’s a mistake to use the approaches that “everyone else is using,” good recruiters assess on their own what tools work and what tools don’t work. (VERY TRUE.)
    20. Expecting dull position descriptions to attract — if position descriptions don’t excite, you’ll miss many top applicants, so it is a mistake not to compare them to competitors and not to make them sales documents. (DON’T “ATTRACT” THEM- “RECRUIT” THEM!)
    21. Not managing the candidate experience — it’s a mistake to treat current applicants and candidates poorly because it will negatively impact the willingness of future candidates to apply. It’s also an error not to sample candidate satisfaction. (DON’T MANAGE IT: OUTSOURCE IT FOR $3/HR.)
    22. Making slow hiring decisions — the very best candidates are snapped up quickly, so slow hiring can dramatically decrease a recruiter’s results. (TELL THAT TO THE FOUNDERS, EXECUTIVES, ETC.)
    23. Dropping the overqualified — prematurely dropping candidates who are overqualified can cause you to lose some superior talent. (WHO DROPS THE “OVER-QUALIFIED”? THEY DROP THE “OVER-AGE” OR THE “OVER-PAID”.)
    24. Dropping job-jumpers – prematurely screening out job-hoppers can cause you to lose some ambitious and rising stars. (AGAIN, TELL THAT TO THE FOUNDERS, EXECUTIVES, ETC.)
    25. Dropping rejected candidates – it’s a major mistake to discard the resumes of top candidates who were not hired, rather than shopping them to other hiring managers or revisiting them later. (VERY TRUE)
    26. Not measuring the quality of hire – even if your organization doesn’t do it for you, it’s a major mistake for recruiters not to check to see if their hires perform better and stay longer them the average hire. (WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS?)
    27. Overemphasis on the past — it’s a major mistake for assessment to focus exclusively on past performance without also assessing how the candidate will handle current and future problems. (TELL THAT TO THE HIRING MANAGERS.)
    28. Being a requisition coordinator — it’s an error to focus too much of your time and effort on requisition approvals and administrative matters, rather than sourcing and selling. (TELL THAT TO THE FOUNDERS, EXECUTIVES, ETC.)
    29. Allowing hiring managers to hire for their needs — hiring managers can be selfish and hire for their own immediate short-term needs, so it is a mistake not to provide direction so that the resulting hires are also the best ones for the future needs of the organization. (WHO’LL BE AROUND IN THE FUTURE?)
    30. Investing or developing brand positions that fail to differentiate — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that most of the employment brand positioning content developed to date makes all organizations seem pretty much identical with the exception of what it is the company does. Most brand positions are overly generic. (BRANDING ISN’T RECRUITING- AND IF IT WERE, IT’S NOT UNDER CONTROL OF THE COMPANY ANYMORE, UNLESS THEY’VE “GAMED” GLASSDOR, ETC.)

    Folks, after further comments, I can let you know what I think may be some additional “Stupid Recruiter Tricks”….

    Cheers,

    Keith

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~Bertrand Russell

    “I’m absolutely positive that Russell was right about this…” -kh ;)

  21. Todd Raphael

    Keith – “outsource it for $3/hour”? Ouch!

  22. Keith Halperin

    @ Todd: Too much? Well, I’ve seen some very well-reviewed Virtual Assistants or Interview Scheduler/Coordinators for under $3.00, but not a huge number. ;)

    One outfit I know that has the $250/week internet-phone-job board sourcers includes someone like this at no additional charge, but hey, since the vast majority of companies don’t care about candidate experience, $0.00/hr is too much for them to spend…

    Cheers,

    Keith
    keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  23. Phil Slaton

    One big mistake is believing the resume. Candidates lie. If you or your assistant has not verified an item, that item does not make the qualifications list.

    Another mistake is properly questioning the candidate to insure that they have the experience they claim on their resume. One time I was in the barrel and had to interview a nurse for an ICU position. Her resume said that she had 3 years of ICU experience. After fencing around with her for a while with general knowledge, I asked ”What is a mainline and what was the mainline infection rate at the hospital where you formerly worked as an ICU nurse?”

    He face went completely blank and she got up and walked out of the office, never even said ”Goodbye.”

    Next!

  24. John Gurney

    One of the greatest failures I see in recruiters is forgetting that the candidate is interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing the candidate. Many recruiters lose top talent simploy because they did a lousy job in “selling” the company. In a candidate’s mind, it has to be a great place to work befor they will accept an offer.

  25. Louise Graybiel

    The DUMBEST thing I have seen recruiters do (and I have seen more than one recruiter do this on more than one occasion) is posting an advertisement for a confidential position.

    Yes, a client has requested you headhunt to fill an unadvertised role and instead you post the location, company and job title on a huge National job board for everyone to see. You’re not only breaking an agreement with the client but also giving your competition all the information they need to steal your job order.

    Now that is truly a boneheaded move.

  26. John Kreiss

    Posting a confidential position? Unreal. Recruiters guilty of this mistake are lucky that they haven’t been sued.

  27. Brandi Cooper

    Nice List- these points are exactly why the recruiting industry has such a black eye in the market these days..

    Of the list, these 5 are most sensitive to me & I’m sure have been directly related to my blood pressure:

    Definitely #1. Not learning the business! => Enough said…
    2. Assuming resumes are accurate (Resumes need to die)
    3. Not managing the candidate experience (The Golden rule: do as you would be done by)
    4. Not taking advantage of referrals —> This correlates directly with the above. Without #3, this has no influence & relevance..
    5. Making slow hiring decisions => TIME KILLS ALL DEALS!

    Thanks again for sharing- It is refreshing to see the community of passionate, experienced recruiters on here. Cheers!

    Brandi

  28. Keith Halperin

    Though I was warned with the threat of grievous bodily harm against doing so, here is my list of 10 “Dumb Recruiter Things” (in no particular order):

    1) Trusting upper management
    2) Thinking you’re indispensible
    3) Not being an office politician (unless you’re in a heavily production-oriented recruiting environment)
    4) Believing your company’s marketing hype (unless it actually happens to be true)
    5) Thinking that what an employer of choice does is useful or applicable to your company (unless you’re in another employer of choice)
    6) Believing that if everybody else in recruiting is talking about something, it must be useful/interesting/important
    7) Thinking that whatever type of recruiter you are is superior to all other types of recruiters
    8) Not learning to spot dysfunctional recruiting environments
    9) Trusting in the basic rationality and logic of managers, candidates, and recruiting staff
    10) Thinking there’s something out there just waiting to be discovered that will make recruiting so much better/easier/simpler than it is now

    Cheers,

    Keith

  29. Amybeth Hale

    Oh Keith – now you’re just being silly! $3/hour?? That’s beyond insulting — to ANYone!!

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  31. Pilla Nageshwara Rao

    Good tips given for recruitment one can follow in their regular recruiting practices

  32. Keith Halperin

    @ Amybeth: Look around- you can get hundreds of high-quality Virtual Assistants to do all sorts of administative work for this amount, or you could be like a local “employer of choice” which hires Ivy League grad students to do this type of work onsite and pays their agencies probably 8x as much or more…What is insulting to me is companies that refuse to no-source(eliminate,) through-source (automate), or out-source (send away) low-touch, low value-add tasks that take away from recruiters’ high-touch, high-value add duties: closing, mentoring, advising, building relationships, creating/streamlining/improving recruiting processes, acting as onsite liaisons for virtual resources, etc.
    Would you rather pay someone remotely $3/hr to enter and compile staffing metrics, or would you rather have an onsite person paid $50+/hr to do the same thing?

    Happy Friday,

    Keith
    keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  33. Christy Spilka

    Great article! 1 3 6 11 and 20 are my top pics but they are all very relevant. I think two major factors are referrals (both internal and external) and knowing how to sell your job when you have the right candidate. If you dont know your company or the job well enough, you have a good chance of losing great people. Also, using social media appropriately…not getting caught up in it.

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  39. helping you hire

    I’ve been a staffing consultant for years http://www.staffing-solutions.biz and I’d like to add that the dumbest thing recruiters do is to NOT stay in contact with candidates whether the hiring manager’s passed, or simply hasn’t responded. If there’s nothing to say, call and tell them there’s been no word, or if it’s a pass, they deserve to know that too. It’s awful to leave candidates hanging. Cut them a break and let them know ASAP, so that they can move on.

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